First impression of Mike Jackson is that he is athletic. Second glance sees the white cane in his hand. Mike is an athlete who played semi-pro basketball and football prior to the loss of his sight three years ago. Within weeks of connecting with The IC as he came to terms with his blindness, staff and peers recruited Mike to play his first game of recreational beep baseball. Fast forward three years and Mike has just returned from helping the Colorado Storm team take home 6th place in the Beep Baseball World Series.
“It was exciting to see thousands of visually impaired athletes playing a sport as if we were normal athletes,” says Mike. “They actually looked at me as a person with special abilities instead of a person without [certain] abilities.” Being seen again as an athlete instead of a blind person is “what I learned from The Independence Center—that there’s more to life than just being disabled.”
Mike is now bringing the game to children at the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind. Beep baseball enables them to experience team sport. He figures they are learning, “if I can get through this, my teammate can get through this. Other people can get through this. . . . Those kids should never feel that their life is over because they have one disability. That’s what my whole purpose is [in coaching].” ~ JT